To: Rye City Council
From: Boat Basin Commissioners
Dear City Council,
Regarding the City of Rye Boat Basin – the current model is unsustainable and will leave taxpayers on the hook for a multi- million dollar clean-up and remediation bill if nothing changes.
The Boat Basin operates at a loss of approximately $280,000 to $300,000 each year. As you are aware this is primarily due to so called “non cash” depreciation charges of approximately $400,000. However, there are ongoing maintenance (depreciation) costs of maintaining both the Milton Harbor channel (regular dredging) and the Boat Basin buildings, ramps, docks and equipment that have been neglected for many, many years. We are now at the point where the facility requires significant expenditures to rebuild and maintain in a safe, effective manner. The cost of fixing the problem significantly exceeds the approximate $900k balance in the Boat Basin’s enterprise fund.
The facility is in need of major repairs – Supervisor Hogben estimates repair costs for dock piling replacement at $215k; repair cost for main dock ramp and covered atrium at $68k; boat launch ramp extension at $120k; main dock float replacements at $200k; parking lot repair at $42k. This list doesn’t include future repairs for the main office or maintenance shed. While some of these expenses can be deferred, many are overdue and safety will increasingly become an issue as the facility deteriorates.
We are behind the 8 ball on Dredging – Milton Harbor requires ongoing maintenance dredging to keep the channel clear of debris which accumulates each year. A recent presentation to the Commission and the City Manager from consulting firm Coastline Consulting & Development estimated the cost of a comprehensive dredging program to remove 94,000 cubic yards would cost several million dollars. A smaller, maintenance level of dredging to remove 25k cubic yards would cost closer to one million dollars but would need to be repeated the following season to try and “catch up” on the required dredging. The Army Core of Engineer permits to dredge were allowed to expire in 2015. The permitting process will take approximately 15 months, meaning the earliest we could dredge is in the Spring of 2019. In short, we are behind the 8 ball on dredging.
What happens if we don’t dredge the channel? The larger boats that pay higher slip fees are now unable to get in and out of the Boat Basin at or near low tide. This situation will get worse. These boats will go elsewhere and the revenues will decline causing the operating budget gap to widen.
Expenses have increased dramatically – In the meantime, the City has increased the primary expense consisting if employee wages & benefits over 30% in the past two years from $238k in 2015 to $316k (estimated) in 2017.
If nothing is done the taxpayers will be on the hook for the costs of dismantling and cleaning up the Boat Basin. In conclusion, the Boat Basin realistically needs several million dollars to fix the facility, the docks and dredge the channel. If the larger boats leave and the revenues shrink the operation will sink under its own weight and the City of Rye taxpayer will be on the hook for a multi-million dollar dismantling and environmental cleanup of the Boat Basin, the docks and surrounding property.
Its time for the City of Rye to formulate a long term plan for the continued operation of the Boat Basin. Do we really want to be the only municipality in the Western Long Island Sound that cannot manage a successful marina, public or private?